Monday, March 25, 2019





Ha ha! Losers!

This morning, I look at my social media feeds and I see…

On my Left, despair and bitter disappointment

To the Right, gloating and raucous glee

… and I wonder if we’re all living in same world.

I warned you this might happen.

I did.

I warned you.

I warned you that the universe doesn't care.

What you want has no bearing on what is.

Facts are not influenced by thoughts, prayers, or your silly god.

Truth is indifferent to human desire, or to human suffering, no matter how badly you might want something.

And so, here we are, bitterly disappointed yet again. Or joyously gleeful, depending your point of view.

But let me ask you something: In the cold, hard light of this Monday morning, what is it that you really know?

What do you really know?

What do you have to be disappointed about? Or to crow at? What? That Trump wasn’t magically proved a traitor and criminal? Is that it?

I warned you this might happen. That it wouldn’t be easy. That there wouldn’t be a unicorn. The world is more complicated than that.

I warned you: Robert Mueller is a professional.

Professionalism is what defines him. And that means Mueller would not be influenced by Trump's lies or his threats. But it also means neither would Mueller be influenced by what you wanted.

A professional's investigation goes where the facts, the data, and the evidence lead. Nowhere else.

And so it is just as insulting to expect that he would hand you what you wanted just because that’s what you wanted as it is for the President of the United States to call him a witch hunter. You see, unlike those various congressional inquiries we’ve seen all too much of in recent years, Mueller's investigation wasn't driven by what he wanted, whatever that might be, or by what you wanted, or by what Trump and his supporters wanted, but only by evidence.

And so, here we are.

But what is it that you really know, now, today?

What justification do you have for your despair or for your joy?

What is it that you really know?

I’ll tell you what I know.

I know that the Press hasn't seen the report.

I know that Congress hasn't see the report.

I know you and I haven't seen the report.

That’s what I know for certain.

We haven’t see the report.

We haven’t seen the facts.

We haven’t seen the evidence – and leaving aside the implied assumption that we are qualified to make a legal judgement on that evidence if and when we do, in fact, see this report.

That’s what I know.

That’s what you know.

That's the one thing you know for certain. That you haven't seen the report. You haven't seen the facts.

The pundits who are right now on your radio and on your TV, opining with absolute confidence, they haven't seen the report.

The endless panels of "experts" on every news channel, the roundtables of personalities, Diamond and Silk, Fox & Friends, and the women of The View, none of them have seen the report.

All of the so-called "experts" in politics, law, intelligence, international relations, and everything else who live on social media, on Facebook, and on Twitter, the trolls and the bots and the influencers, none of them have seen the report.

None of them.

They don’t know any more than you do – they’re just hoping you don’t notice.

So, what is it that you know now that you didn't yesterday?

Well, actually, you might know more than you realize you do.

See, you know Trump has seen the report.

You know the Attorney General has seen the report.

You can guess with reasonable accuracy that Trump's inner circle, they've seen the report.

But no one else.

And isn’t that interesting?

It's been three days.

It’s been three days and the report has not yet leaked from an administration that is about as watertight as a wiffle-ball.

Trump didn’t just hand over the report to Congress. Instead he sent William Barr to give a sanitized briefing, a book report approved by The White House, to congress.

And why is that?

More significantly, Trump lives on Twitter. For more than a year he’s daily tweeted in protest of this investigation. Screaming NO COLLUSSION! NO COLLUSION! WITCH HUNT! WITCH HUNT! like some demented parrot. A week back, with the report imminent, he raged the entire weekend, tweeting furiously and giving feverish interviews to anyone with with a microphone. And then, Friday … suddenly he went radio silent.

As soon as Mueller handed in the report, Trump dropped off the air.

He returned this morning, but now that he actually holds in his hand the final report he has become curiously subdued.

And that tells you something.

Trump began the day with, "No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!"

Complete and Total exoneration, he says.

Complete and total exoneration.

Except, if the report truly does exonerate Donald Trump, completely and totally -- and that is possible, however unlikely -- then the easiest way to prove it is to make the report public. Make the report public, seize the narrative, crush his opponent in one single stroke of schadenfreude. It would be the greatest moment of triumph in the history of politics. Trump, utterly vindicated, by the very man he’s daily vilified as his enemy. And don’t tell me sealed-indictments or classified information are stopping him. Because Trump has never demonstrated any concern for protection of either the legal system or classified information. This investigation, these accusations, this has been Trump’s obsession, the gadfly of all gadflies, the burr under his saddle and the pebble in his shoe, the festering carbuncle on his ass. I gave up counting how many times he’s tweeted about it, or angrily proclaimed his persecution in interviews, or furiously declared “Presidential Harassment” at one of his campaign rallies.

For more than a year we listened as Trump and his various mouthpieces have pushed paranoia and increasingly unhinged conspiracy theories.

And now, in his moment of triumph, when Trump and all of his supporters from Alex Jones to Sean Hannity have finally at long last been proven right, he’s suddenly what? Become reserved on Twitter? No desire to rub victory in the faces of “Chuck and Nancy,” Crooked Hillary, Crazy Joe, Da Nang Dick, CNN, The New York Times, Fake News, or even Alec Baldwin and Saturday Night Live? Really?

No press conference?

No tweetstorm?


If Mueller’s report really says what Trump claims it does, then he could own all the liberals, forever, by simply releasing it.

Instead, he’s quoting Fox News this morning and wishing us all a great day.

Of course, Trump could similarly prove many of the things he claims by making public his tax returns, transcripts, etc. He won’t do that, either. And probably for the same reason.

Folks, it was always likely Mueller would find no directly actionable evidence of Trump's personal collusion.

Guys like Trump don't get their own hands dirty.

Nixon had his plumbers and Reagan had Ollie North and unless Trump was incredibly stupid about it, proving his personal collusion with Russia was unlikely. Sure, he benefited from Russian interference in our Republic. Certainly Russia wanted Trump over Hillary Clinton. None of those things are in dispute, but that’s not collusion.

The bar for proving conspiracy and treason is very high, and for good reason.

But obstruction of justice, well that’s something else entirely.

Mueller had to walk a very fine line. We’re not just talking about indicting some idiot general here or some political hack or just any American – or some random coffee-getter. We’re not even talking about Donald Trump the man. No, we’re talking about the Office of the President of the United States of America.

And so the hill is very high, not just the legal and evidentiary requirements, but in this case the political threshold.

If Mueller’s report had dramatically accused the president directly of treason, it would be dismissed out of hand as a political hatchet job. Even if you believed it, Trump’s supporters never would. Trump might have been removed from office, or he might have become a martyr – and I remind you that he and his supporters have repeatedly threatened violence – but it would never be settled.

It was never Robert Mueller’s job to remove the president from office.

That’s our job.

And that is how you want it. That’s how our country is designed. That’s why the Founders wrote the Constitution the way they did.

Because if Trump – any president – is to be removed from office, then unless his crime was so egregious, so blatant, so utterly obvious to every American no matter their ideology, then a report, no matter the integrity and professionalism of the investigator, isn’t enough.

We are on the edge.

Our country is divided.

Danger is close and violence is at hand.

It wouldn’t take much of a spark to set off a conflagration – especially given that there are agencies hostile to our nation who are actively working to see that very thing happen, who would love nothing better than for Americans to begin killing Americans and for the United States to fall into civil war.

No. If Trump is to be removed from office, then the process must be out in the open, public, tried in a court of the people before the people and to such a degree that no reasonable person can argue with the results – or at the very least the argument, no matter how passionate, falls short of civil war and blood in the streets.

Mueller’s job was to gather evidence in confidence. No more. No less. It was never Robert Mueller’s job to remove the president from office and I warned you so.

That’s our job. That’s Congress’s job.

This morning, you have no reason for despair.

You have no reason for glee.

What do you know today that you didn’t know yesterday?

Well, you know the report has not been made public.

You know who’s seen it and who has not.

You know Trump, a man with a record of pathological lies, is asking you to just take his word for it.

That’s what you know.

And, my friends, that’s a lot.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Last Refuge

Number one, I'm in love, and you're in love. We're all in love together.
-- Donald Trump, CPAC speech.

I call it love, Gracchus. The people are my children, I am their father. I shall hold them to my bosom and embrace them
-- Commodus, Gladiator, 2000


The Conservative Political Action Conference.

It’s like Burning Man for Republicans, only instead of inclusion, self-expression, and cheerful nudity, there was conservative rage, xenophobia, and howling conspiracy.

Also, Donald Trump fucked a flag live on stage like some strange textile variation of a Tijuana donkey show.

No word yet on if Trump made the flag sign a nondisclosure agreement or if his lawyer had to pay the flag $140,000 to keep quiet.

But, I digress.

Trump spoke for more than two hours at CPAC.

I watched it live.

I tried to take notes.

Calling it a speech suggests there was structure and content and some sort of narrative theme.

There wasn’t any of that.

Instead it was a frenetic mash of unscripted, unhinged rambling lunacy, sometimes changing topics two or three times in the same sentence. Frankly, the aforementioned donkey hopped up on knockoff Mexican Viagra and cheap tequila probably would have had more coherency.

Eventually, I just gave up and poured a couple fingers of William Wolf into my dirty coffee mug and watched in increasing disbelief as Trump careening from a disjointed recap of his election to tariffs to something about when the wind stops blowing you’re out of “electric” then back to tariffs jumping to collusion with Russian witch hunts to Andy Jackson and Red Hats to Robert Mueller back to a comparison of inauguration crowd size to something about how R. Lee Ermey should have gotten the Academy Award for Full Metal Jacket but Hollywood is made up of liberals apparently to something about the color of his hair to “thirty-two big fat rallies” (don’t ask, heehaw heehaaaw!) to how he invented the 4th of July to … I don’t know, a partridge in a pear tree.

It’s taken me three days to work my way through the video and transcripts.

And the rest of that bottle.

Trump said a lot of things, most of which sounded like a plea for involuntary commitment to a mental health facility, but it was the expected plug for his wall that really caught my attention.

See, as justification for declaring a national emergency, something conservatives like those in attendance at CPAC would have called “Government Overreach” and “abuse of Executive Power” back when the black guy was in the office, Trump again invoked the plight of immigrant women:

"Mothers, who love their daughters, give them massive amounts of birth control pills because they know their daughters are going to be raped on the way up to our southern border."

No mention, naturally, of the hundreds of immigrant children who have been sexually assaulted while in Trump's own detention camps.

That's the message.

We must build a wall because immigrant woman are being raped on the way to America.

Women, from Central American countries, are being raped as they migrate north.

Thus, Trump’s reasoning goes, we should build a giant wall to keep them out.

Because if immigrant woman can’t get into America they won’t get raped because they’ll just stay in their own countries where there’s no rape or, you know, other forms of oppression and crime which is why they were seeking a better life in America in the first place or … something. Trump wasn’t exactly clear on the details.

If you build it, there will be less rape, I guess.

Maybe Costner will play Trump in the movie, he’s got the hair for it anyway. But I digress, again.

There’s a certain strange irony in that Trump is attempting to rally support for his wall from the xenophobic right-wing fanatics of CPAC who not only hate immigrants but illegal immigrants in particular by playing on their supposed sympathy for the plight of illegal immigrant women. Moreover, irony wise, these people – supposedly horrified at the idea of rape visited upon young women and female children – are the very same conservatives who unequivocally and loudly denounced a woman who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by their choice for Supreme Court Justice.

And here I am digressing for a third time in as many paragraphs.

Maybe it’s just me.

Let's say this was true.

This bit, where Trump says,

One in three women is sexually assaulted in the dangerous journey north. When I ran for my first speech, mentioned the word “rape”... If you look at that speech, that was so innocent compared what's actually happening. Mothers who love their daughters give them massive amounts of birth control pills, because they know their daughters are going to be raped on the way up to our southern border. Think of that. True story told to me by the Border Patrol. Think of how evil that is.

Let’s say this was true. It's likely not, because that's not how birth control pills work, but let's say it was.

Trump says, "think of how evil that is."

Think on how evil that is.

Think on how evil it is that mothers must give their daughters "massive amounts of birth control pills" because they will be raped on the way to our border.

He’s not exactly clear, but for the sake of simplicity let's be charitable and assume it’s the rape part he has a problem with and not birth control pills per se or motherhood.


Rape is evil.

That’s what he’s saying.

Rape, sexual assault, that’s evil. That’s bad. We don’t want that.

It’s so evil, in point of fact, that it’s still evil even when it happens to people we hate – like illegal immigrants.



Should we not immediately grant them sanctuary?

Is that not what a moral people would do?

Is that not what Christians would do -- and those cheering Trump when he said this, were they not Christians? Were they not Christians, self declared, righteous, soldiers in the name of their God? Do they not consider this a Christian nation? Why then are they cheering the idea of building a wall to keep these victims out?

I mean, what’s the point of even bringing it up, if we’re not going to do something about it?

If what Trump says is indeed true, why shouldn't we grant these victims immediate sanctuary?

If not, then why not?

Be specific and show your work.

You see the implications. Do you not?

You do all see what Trump is saying, right?

Trump’s statement at CPAC is directly counter to his stance on immigration itself.

Trump has said repeatedly that those crossing our Southern border are murderers, rapists, thieves, drug smugglers. Criminals of all stripes. That is why we must build this wall.

We have to build a wall to keep them out, to keep out crime and drugs and terror. Right? That’s what he tells us.

Yet, here he is literally telling you that many, perhaps even most, of those seeking refuge are not criminals at all but are in point of fact victims of horrible crimes.

Hell, we’ve gone to war in foreign lands for less.

If these were Christian women being raped by Muslim men in the Middle East, a task force of Navy ships and Marines would even now be sailing for that distant shore at flank speed in righteous moral fury.

Donald Trump laments this atrocity, but he isn’t talking about stopping it.

Instead, he tells the raging nationalists of CPAC that we must build a wall and keep these women on the far side it.

He demands sympathy for the plight of these victims solely in order justify victimizing them even more.

He’s not suggesting that we help these women in any fashion. Just the opposite in fact.

And yet, by Donald Trump’s own words, these are the very people we should be granting asylum to instead of turning away.

We Americans should be greeting these women, these victims, with open arms, with security and support and comfort.

For if America can’t protect the weak from the ruthless, then what goddamned good is it?

I've heard that flag later burned itself.
-- T. Alexander, in response to my comment on Twitter.